Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lucha Libre In Glendale

Former lucha libre promoter Tony Martin has emerged once again in Arizona, running wrestling at the Glendale 9 Drive In Theater and swap meet on Saturdays.

Piranha has become the main attraction on his cards and has a following already built in, due to being seen for other promotional groups in the area in the past few years.

CC Starr also made a comeback after one of his many retirements, to appear for this office. So much for his quitting as he has done this son many times no oen takes his farewells seriously.

Martin has a pipeline into Mexico, as he ran wrestling for several years down there in the 1990s, operating in both Nogales and Hermosillo.

Martin also ran lucha libre cards in the 1990s and 2000s in the Phoenix and Tucson areas.

Hopefully the new group will make a go of it.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Ian Campbell

Ian "Big Scott" Campbell was the stereotyped Scottish wrestler long before Roddy Piper, coming to the ring with the cap, kilt and occasionally a set of bagpipes.

Sometimes he was cheered and sometimes booed, depending on who he faced in the ring.

A muscular star, Campbell utilized a number of power moves to finish his matches, including a back breaker, a bear hug and even a routine body slam.

During visits in and out of Arizona in the 1950s, some of the people he faced included Ricky Waldo, George Drake, Juan Humberto, El Diablo, Brute Bemis, Bobby Graham,  and Bobby Pico.

The unavoidable feud with Don Arnold also came to pass, for Arnold remained the man to beat throughout he 1950s and 1960s. In most of the encounters, Arnold, as the villain, came out the winner.

Where Campbell was cheered against Arnold, he was booed in a subsequent feud with Phil Melby.

Arizona was just one of the stops this wretsler made in a career that spanned two decades and the entire globe. He also proved to be a major draw in most of the European circuits.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Howard Stein

Several wrestlers who appeared regularly or on rare occasions in Arizona decided to punch their own ticket out of life. Bob Sallee, Mike Awesome, Morbus, George Drake, Tojo Yamamoto, Ripper Collins....

Howard Stein was another part of Arizona wrestling who died in a such a tragic fashion.

While working at a print shop with bis parents, hew as a regualr at the Phoenix Madison Square garden and at the Bernsten shows, where he was forever heckling the villains from a ringside seat.  He was not, however, a wrestler.

The closest he came to any physical contact with a wrestler was during an Eddie Sullivan match when, feeling bored, he shouted "I want some fucking action." Keep in mind this was 1981 or so, before  profanity became the norm from fans or wrestlers. Hearing this, Sullivan lost his cool, stepped out of the ring and strutted over to Stein.

"You looking for some action?" Sullivan asked. :Give me some." He then slapped the cigar out of Stein's mouth and motioned him to get up.

Stein wisely did not, though the next week he was on Eddie's case more than ever, minus the request for "fucking action."

A year later, he mysteriously stopped showing up at the matches..

It seems for reasons no one knew, he went to Las Vegas to party it up, lost a load of money in the celebration and  seeming in a  good mood, returned to Vegas where he shot himself. Evidently, the spree and ending were thought out in advance.

George Drake

Claiming to be from Catalina Island, George Drake was a popular grappler in the 1950s who toured the USA. Handsome, muscular and charismatic, though a bit small for a wrestler, he was nonetheless a top draw in whatever territory he appeared.Though not overly tall, he was quite muscular..

Among his favorite moves were an airplane spin, a Boston crab and the arm drag.

Drake made various trips into Arizona, where he was always cheered by the crowd. Tucson, Phoenix and Yuma were some of the areas where he was a regular.

As with most incoming fan favorites, Drake was matched up with mainstay villain Don Arnold for an intense feud. Arnold usually won these encounters, which would set up for an unending series of rematches and keep the crowd coming back for more.

Other people Drake faced included Tito Copa, Brute Bemis, Farmer Palmer, Duke Keomuka and the Garcias.

After retirement, Drake evidently found the quiet life too much to cope with and committed suicide in 1967.

His real name was an unflattering Roland Hogg. 

Sandy Barr

Oregon and Washington would be the main stomping ground for Sandy Barr. A prominent wrestler, promoter and father of Art and Jesse Barr. Ge also ran a huge swap meet for years in Portland, where he shifted a wrestling school to and actual promotional effort in the 1990s.  

Wrestlers on the swap meet cards he ran in his latter years included Dane Rush, Rambo, Buddy Wayne and his son, Jesse Barr/Jimmy Jack Funk.

When he was younger, Barr had a stint in the Phoenix/Tucson in the late 1950s.

One of his main routines in Arizona was to wrestle in his bare feet rather than with the traditional boots. He would thus dropkick the hell out of people.

Don Arnold, Dr, Jerry Graham and El Diablo were some of the people he squared off with in Arizona.

He died a few years back from a  heart attack.


The Cauliflower Alley Club is meeting this month in Las Vegas for their annual convention, as they do every year. It is amazing how far they have come from a modest weekly gathering of retired wrestlers in Los Angeles years ago, headed by the late Mike Mazurki, to this. Mazurki is gone, but his dream lives on.

One can find information by just logging Cauliflower Alley Club into search and finding their web page.

A modest $25 a year for US members (higher for overseas) gets you a fine quarterly magazine/newsletter, entitlement to attend the conventions and other benefits. There is also a benevolence fund for members set up to  aid wrestlers in financial or medical need.

Present members who were or still are seen in Arizona include Billy Anderson, Tito Montez, Tito Carreon, Phil Melby, CC Starr, Red Bastien, Nick Bockwinkel, Ann Casey, Pat Patterson, myself and more. When one looks at the entire roster, the list is astronomical and still growing.

Worth considering,

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Rick Renaldo wrestled mainly in the Pacific Northwest and Deep South. A muscular Italian-American with a love for cigars and weightlifting, though this might seem a contradiction, he was also one of wretsling;s legitimately toughest individuals.

Anyone doubting his toughness need only hear of a real-life Renaldo heroic, where he and Ray Stevens decked a bank robber making his getaway out the doors of a bank he just robbed,

Renaldo never wrestled regularly in Arizona, but drifted through the territory from time to time.

Renaldo's longest run was in the winter of 1979-1980 when matches were held at the Immaculate Heart Gym in Pheonix, in which he had a feud with Eddie Sullivan, These two had wrestled each other elsewhere before, several times and it was logical to bring them together on these cards, Sadly, this promotion did not last long and Renaldo went elsewhere.

Usually, Renaldo wretsled as a rulebreaker, butt here were times when he turned into a fan favorite, as seen in his southern run. When he faced Sullivan in Arizona, he was also utilized as the proverbial good guy.